Illaqa / Lahesh Cave Trek
Adventure / Trekking
At a distance of 12 km from McLeod Ganj and 17 km from Dharamshala, Lahesh Cave is a Camping ground which is used by shepherds in the summers when they take their sheep to the high altitude meadows here. It lies at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level.
Lahesh Cave is a 12 km trek from the McLeod Ganj Bus Stop. This is an easy to moderate trek, which can be done either from McLeod Ganj or Dharamkot, which is 2 km ahead of McLeod Ganj. The trail is 10 km from Dharamkot and passes through Galu Devi Temple, Triund and Illaqa. Triund is the base camp for the trekkers who continue the trek to Lahesh Cave, Indrahara Pass to Bharmour. Along the way there are many small Tea shops where one can refresh during the hike.
After a 2 km ascent from Triund, traversing through a ridge will lead to Illaqa or Laka which has a temporary shepherd camp. The path is rock-strewn and uneven, some spots were treacherous too. Illaqa is a flat stretch of land on the Moon Peak Mountain which divides the Kangra Valley and Chamba Valley. It is situated at the snout of small glacier, which is covered with snow capped mountains. There is a tea stall at Illaqa, one can buy some eatables and can spend night in the camps or own tents. From Ilaka, a 2 km steep ascent over rocky ridge will take to Lahesh cave. It will take you about 2-3 hours to get to Lahesh Cave from Triund. The total trek needs 2-3 days from McLeodGanj and having a guide is definitely recommended. Visitors can camp at Lahesh Cave or come back to Ilaka for overnight stay.
Best time to visit Lahesh Cave is from March to May and September to December.